February 25, 2006

Russia wants to complete Iran nuclear plant swiftly

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia wants to complete building a
nuclear power station in Iran as soon as possible, the
country's top nuclear official said on Saturday, the Itar-Tass
news agency reported.

Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's atomic energy agency
Rosatom, said during a visit to Tehran that the civilian
nuclear plant at Bushehr in Iran would be launched as fast as

"We don't see any political obstacles to completing Bushehr
and we are interested in it (the station) being launched in the
swiftest possible period," Kiriyenko said, the Itar-Tass news
agency reported.

Iran's nuclear aspirations have provoked a diplomatic
crisis and Tehran faces possible sanctions if referred to the
United Nations Security Council.

Iran recently resumed atomic fuel research and enrichment
but insists it is only interested in atomic power for civilian

The United States and the European Union suspect Iran's
program is aimed at making atomic weapons.

Russia has sought to play a major role in the diplomatic
game by offering to enrich the uranium Iran needs for nuclear
power stations on Russian soil.

Russia's building of the nuclear plant at Bushehr has long
provoked objections from U.S. officials who fear Iran could use
the technology for developing weapons.

Moscow says Iran has a right to civilian atomic energy and
brushes aside criticism of the contract, which is worth around
$1 billion.